A Brokenstraw Township home was destroyed by fire Friday evening.
No one was home at the Brown house across from 1060 Allegheny Springs Road when fire broke out. A passing motorist saw the fire, stopped at a house across the road and called 911.
Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department First Assistant Chief Ken Roberts said he could see the smoke rising above the hillside behind the Rouse Home almost a mile and a half away as he was driving to the blaze shortly after the call went out at 5:20 p.m.
The one-story addition at the back of the two-story house was ablaze when Roberts arrived. "On my arrival we had heavy, heavy fire," he said.
The battle went well at first. "We had a pretty good knock-down," he said.
But difficulty bringing enough water to the scene soon became a problem. "Water's been an issue," Roberts said.
As more departments responded, several tankers, ranging in capacity from 1,000 to 3,000 gallons, repeatedly filled a 2,100-gallon portable pond, providing a steady supply of water to continue battling the blaze.
A five-inch hose, put in position by Starbrick firefighters when they arrived, carried the water up the driveway to the house. "That feeds that entire operation," Roberts said.
The tankers were able to fill up about one half mile from the house. "Lindell and Maney Oil Company allowed us to use their pond," Roberts said.
Trucks and firefighters from eight departments - Youngsville, Starbrick, Garland, Tidioute, Sugar Grove, Wrightsville, and Pleasant - responded to the scene, as did Warren County Fire Police, while the North Warren, Spring Creek, and Bear Lake departments were on station at Starbrick, Garland, and Youngsville, respectively. There were 60 to 70 firefighters at the scene with about 30 more on station. The chiefs from Starbrick and Garland worked at the western portion of the fire while Roberts directed the attack from the east. "We all work together," Roberts said.
The American Red Cross provided drinking water for the firefighters.
The fire spread from the house to a nearby building and at about 6 p.m. two explosions rocked the area. The explosion of propane tanks sent flames almost 100 feet in the air. Roberts said responders had not been aware that propane tanks were stored in the building. No firefighters were injured.